: uhm…. Maybe
: Michael changed a lot since the last pregnancy scare. We will see how he is gonna react this time.
Lol, Brendan is a little clumsy now and then, but that is what makes him so loveable, right? Karen is the perfect match for him.
Hm, maybe yes, maybe not, we will see. A nursery school? Lol. Yeah, why not, our Guerin boys are very fertile.
: M&M are always good for a surprise. We`re pretty sure Tess and Liz are already on the pill, as well as Maria. But there are days you will forget that damn little thing, lol. We will see what Michael has to say now.
Read and find out!
: Michael’s reaction will be revealed right now. M&M are always good for a surprise!
Lol, ya know we love the cliffies. A joke? Hm…. We will see! Too bad that you have to wait until Monday though, sorry! We didn’t intend to make ya wait that long.
The bet is still running and Maria is pretty sure she’s gonna win…. But so is Michael, lol.
We love Amy as well, she’s a cool mother and Maria and her are very close, so it’s understandable that Maria is sad about the fact, that she can’t come…
Brendan is a little clumsy now and then. But maybe this is one more reason why everyone loves him so much, lol.
: A russ? Hm…. Maybe!
It’s funny how opinions of a character can change in a fic, isn’t it? At the beginning we had a lot of Sean haters, lol, but things changed now. We really like Sean as well now.
: Like the cliffie? Lol
Liz did change a lot, probably as much as Michael did.
Part 123 – Clarification
“Would you want a boy or a girl?”
“A boy or a...” He swallowed hard. She was joking, he knew she was joking... she HAD to be joking. No, she was joking, he was sure of it. Maybe he’d play along just to make sure though. “I wouldn’t care,” he answered as his right hand moved down to cover her belly.
She nodded. “Me neither.”
“You neither,” he whispered. “Wait, Maria, are you just fuckin’ with me?” She had to be, she was too calm! “You are, right?” His heart thudded in his chest at the thought that she might really be pregnant. Yeah, it was a scary thought because, seriously, were either of them ready to be parents? He knew without question that he would love their child and do everything in his power to keep him or her safe, but... damn, were they ready for that kind of responsibility?
She chuckled. “Yeah, just messin’ around with you, big boy.”
He sighed in relief. “Don’t get me wrong, Maria, if it happened we’d deal with it... no kid of ours would ever question if they were wanted or loved, but...” He leaned in and nipped her neck. “You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, but it’s good to know you wouldn’t run if that situation came up.”
“I’m through runnin’... you’re kinda stuck with me now.”
“Love that,” she admitted. “Seems like the Guerin boys were all very successful this year, huh?”
“Um-hmm,” he mumbled contentedly. “Hey, Kyle was sayin’ that you girls were gonna hang out tomorrow night, so us guys might just do the same thing.”
“Yeah, you should ask Brendan if he wants to hang out as well. Karen and the little one can stay with us if they want.”
“You guys gonna go somewhere of just hang out around the apartment?”
“Probably just hang out at the apartment. It seems like it’s been a very long time since we’ve all been there together.”
“Yeah, it’s good to get out for a little time with our friends once in a while.”
“Hey, did Kyle talk to you about the possibility of using the beach house for Adam?”
“Yeah, he said Jim offered to check with the people who own it.” He shrugged. “If they agree it’d probably be a lot easier on Adam and his wife to be in a house instead of a hotel since they’ve got five kids.”
“When will you know about it? We’ll have to call Adam so he can get his family prepared. Bet it’s not easy to organize such a big family.”
“I told Kyle to go ahead and ask Jim to make the call. He called him right then and Jim said he’d let me know first thing in the mornin’.”
“Are we still going to that place you own tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I thought maybe we could go later in the afternoon? I forgot to tell you that Brooke called before I came in here and she invited us and Bren an’ Karen over for breakfast. So, we’ve got that if ya wanna go and then we’ve got an 11am practice. Coach probably won’t let us out until about 3pm, but if you still wanna go out there maybe we could get somethin’ to eat and head out there after practice?”
“Sounds like a plan. I need my Michael time before we do whatever we’re gonna do on our own tomorrow night.”
“Your Michael time,” he grumbled under his breath. “Give up on this stupid bet and I might just have enough energy to give you some real Michael time tonight.”
“You just want me to give in.”
He pressed his nose against her neck where it met her shoulder as he let his hand slip down between her legs to cup her. “Of course I want you to give in.” He nipped her earlobe. “And you know you want to,” he growled heatedly.
“I don’t deny that I want you,” she breathed.
“So, just to be clear,” he whispered as he eased his fingers lower to tease her, “how far can we go before we cross the line for this bet? I mean...” His thumb rubbed against her clit, “does this count? Or is this considered okay and out of the bounds of the bet?”
“I think that’s okay,” she decided quickly.
He chuckled when she turned her head and wrapped one hand around his neck to pull him closer for a kiss. “Thought so,” he muttered smugly as he felt her moving against him restlessly. He didn’t draw it out, quickly working her up to that maddening rush and sending her over the edge.
She smiled weakly against his lips. “You are amazing.”
He shifted, nudging his erection against her back. “Ya know, if ya wanna return the favor, I’m good with that.”
“Well, I’m not sure if that’s allowed...” she teased.
“Maria,” he whined, “c’mon.”
She laughed. “Kidding, baby. Let’s change seats.”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s not like I’m askin’ for a blowjob,” he grumbled as he got up. “I mean, I’m really good with that too.”
She shook her head. “Blowjob under water? Not gonna happen, Michael. I love my life. Let me sit behind ya.”
He frowned at the scented bubbled in the tub as he steadied her so she wouldn’t slip when she moved behind him. “Yeah, probably not a great idea in these conditions...” he sniffed the air, but wasn’t able to identify the scent. “Well, it’s always a great idea, but, scented bubble bath would just taste gross.”
“I’m glad you agree,” she said, her tone amused as she slipped into the water behind him and wrapped arms and legs around him.
“Um-hmm, you like it anytime I agree with you,” he said as he leaned back against her.
“You are so much more agreeable than you were at our beginning,” she teased and nipped and his shoulder.
“That’s a two-way street, baby,” he reminded her.
“Uh-huh, and what does that tell us? That we’re the perfect match.” She bit into his flesh softly before kissing her way up to his ear. “I love you.”
They were a perfect match
, he thought. He couldn’t imagine this with anyone else and he didn’t even want to. “I love you too.” He shivered when her breath ghosted against the soft skin under his ear.
Her right hand started to wander from his stomach down to his hard length. She smiled slightly as Michael inhaled sharply the moment she touched him. She stroked him slowly while her lips trailed a path of light kisses between his ear and shoulder.
Michael groaned when she took her time, running her thumb over his sensitive tip with every stroke. He covered her hand with his, hoping to encourage her to pick up some speed and he grumbled when she jabbed him with her elbow, an unsubtle warning to back off.
Maria reached up with her free hand and used three fingers on his chin to turn his head towards her. He looked at her with half closed eyes and she bit her lip when she realized that after all these strange and hard months, she held his heart in her hands. He trusted her even if he had always been scared to let anyone come that close after what his parents had done to him.
Michael barely had enough brain cells firing to string to words together, much less wonder what she was thinking as she looked at him so intently. The fingers of his right hand curled around the rim of the tub as he felt himself getting closer with every stroke of her hand.
She increased the speed of her strokes, adding a little more pressure with her hand. Maria lowered her head to kiss his neck again. “I don’t wanna ever lose you,” she mumbled against his wet skin.
“Not goin’ anywhere, Maria.” And holy hell, there it was!
His entire body stiffened as he came and he felt her arms holding him tighter as he slumped back against and his body began to relax.
“Not as good as sex, but better than nothing, huh?” she said softly.
“It’ll do for now,” he mumbled drowsily.
“We should probably go to bed. The water’s getting cold and I’m tired.”
“Bed’s so far away,” he complained. He felt around with his toes to find the plug and pulled it out of the drain. “We’d probably better turn the shower on and rinse off, huh?”
“Good idea. Lean forward so I can get up.”
He held his right hand up for her to grab onto to steady herself as he leaned forward. “Wonder what’s on the menu for breakfast in the mornin’?”
“If Isabel makes it then I’d say everything,” she said, knowing that this wasn’t about food, but ignoring the little fact that they weren’t having sex.
“I’m kinda hungry.” He glanced up at Maria. “What about you?”
“Anything you’re in the mood for?”
“What about pizza?”
“Again?” he snorted.
She shrugged. “Pizza is always good.”
“Just a lot of cheese.”
“Cheese pizza, okay.” He jumped under the shower spray and rinsed off. “I’ll make a quick call and place an order. Pan crust or thin?”
“Pan crust. I’ve got the number saved in my phone,” she said.
He grinned as he grabbed a towel, wrapping it around his waist as he grabbed her phone off of the counter and padded into his bedroom. He called their order in and then dried off before pulling on a pair of jeans and going into the kitchen to grab a drink.
Michael flipped the light on in the kitchen and walked over the refrigerator to pull it open, wondering if Maria would prefer a beer or a soda. He glanced down when the phone started to ring and he realized that he hadn’t put it down after phoning their order in. He checked the caller ID and his eyebrow lifted when he saw ‘Mom’ scrolling across the little screen.
He flipped the phone open and lifted it up to his ear. “Hello?”
Amy was surprised to head Michael on the phone. “Hello, my favorite son-in-law.”
He held the phone out to look at the caller ID again. Did she expect him to call her Mom? He tried it out silently and decided that it didn’t feel as weird as he had expected. “Favorite, huh? I’d better be the only one,” he growled, deciding to wait until she said it was okay for him to call her Mom.
Amy laughed. “I really hope so, Michael.”
“That makes two of us. Maria’s in the shower, but I can go let her know you’re on the phone,” he offered.
“Oh no, I can tell you this as well.”
“Okay... what’s up?”
“Maria called me earlier. She wanted to know if I had time to come up over New Years’.”
“Yeah, and I’m really sorry ‘bout that,” he apologized as he pulled a couple of beers out of the refrigerator and closed the door with his hip. “That was my bright idea and if I’d been thinkin’ I would’ve remembered that she mentioned you workin’ over the holidays a while back.”
“It was your idea?” Amy asked, surprised as she smiled into the phone.
“Well, kinda... yeah. Has she told you about Adam, my biological father?”
He nodded. “Right, well... I just met him while we were in Tahoe an’ he’s comin’ here for New Years’ with his family so I thought maybe you could come here too ‘cause I know it’d mean a lot to Maria. I could’ve kicked myself when she called you and you said you had to work.”
“Well, I have good news. I just called some of my coworkers and there was one who owed me big time. So I think I could make it up to California, if that offer’s still available.”
“Yeah, I’ll have to leave early on January 2nd though.”
“Would you let me take care of the tickets and hotel? I’d really like to do that if you’ll let me.”
“Oh, no, you don’t have to do that, Michael. I have enough saved up to afford it,” Amy denied.
“Then let me do it as a gift for Maria.” He bit his bottom lip. Was he pushing too hard?
After his conversation with Maria about money he had to stop and think about things before just assuming that everyone was okay with him paying for things.
Amy chuckled. “If I remember right, it’s you who’ll be getting a gift soon.”
“Um... yeah. I forgot about that. There’s no reason for anyone to make a big fuss over that. I know Maria will because... well, just because she’s Maria and I have no control over things with her, but gifts aren’t a necessity.”
“Uh-huh, same here.”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s easy to see where Maria gets her stubborn streak,” he muttered.
“Oh, but you can do me a favor. I need to work, so if you would arrange flight and hotel for me...”
“And if I pay for it you’ll...”
“Give it back to you later.”
He shook his head and chuckled. “When do you want the flight out here?”
“I’d appreciate an early morning flight on New Year’s Eve, if that’s possible. If not you can get me whatever’s available from tomorrow afternoon till before it’s too late.”
“Alright, I’ll take care of the arrangements. Ya wanna tell Maria or kinda keep it for a surprise?”
“Hmm... what ya think?”
Michael smiled to himself. “It’d be kinda cool if she didn’t know you’re comin’ for a visit.”
“Okay, it’s our little secret then.”
He glanced down at the phone in his hand once Amy had hung up and his thumb moved over the buttons to delete any record of the call. If Maria knew her mom had called she’d call her right back and he didn’t want anything to ruin the surprise.
He glanced at his watch and realized that it would still be a few minutes before the delivery guy arrived with their pizza so he turned the light off and walked back to his room.
Brooke walked around the first floor of Alex’s house nervously. Brendan and Michael would be there soon and she didn’t know how to feel about what they would tell them about their biological father. The boys hadn’t shared any information other than Adam seemed to be cool. On the one hand, she was glad that the unknown man seemed to be a nice guy. Brendan and Michael deserved some good news for once. On the other hand, she was nervous about Adam. What if he was really cool and Michael and Brendan started to slowly turn away from her? She knew that just the thought was ridiculous and that the twins would never do that, but she was still scared about it.
It could happen slowly, almost un-noticed but what if the special bond Michael and her had always shared suddenly faded?
“Brooke, stop pacing around, they’ll be here soon,” Alex said as he glanced out of the kitchen. He shook his head and joined Isabel at the counter again. “The kid’s nervous.”
“Well, that doesn’t surprise me. The fact that you two share a different father than the twins is still new to her and now she’ll find out even more about it. She’s probably scared that this thing will divide you guys into parties.” She raised her hand before he could deny it. “I know you won’t let this happen, Alex. But it doesn’t matter how much you tell her that, she has to see it on her own.”
He nodded. “Can I help you with anything?”
“Uh-huh... can you please take over the eggs and bacon? I think my morning sickness is back one more time,” she made a face and turned her head away from the food.
Alex winced and hurried to step in and take over so the food wouldn’t burn. “We didn’t have to make breakfast, Iz... I could’ve just gone out and got donuts or bagels or somethin’.” He felt bad that she was having to deal with morning sickness... and it seemed to happen around the clock, it wasn’t just confined to mornings.
“No, don’t worry about it. I’m pretty sure it’ll fade away in no time as usual and then I can eat everything at once.”
He shook his head. He didn’t understand how this thing worked at all. One minute she’d be sick as a dog and it seemed like anything that smelled remotely like food sent her running for the bathroom... and the next minute she was eating everything in sight. Instead of commenting he wisely kept those thoughts to himself and moved to the pantry to grab a new package of crackers that he handed to her.
She nodded and took them from him. “Did the twins tell ya anything about Adam yet?”
“No, they’ve been surprisingly silent on the subject. Well,” he amended, “not so surprising on Michael’s part.”
Isabel chuckled. “I’m still trying to realize what had happened the last few months. God, everything had changed so much. “Oh, hey, before I forget to tell you, the girls and I were talking about having a girl’s night tonight, is that okay with you?”
“A girl’s night? Does that mean I’m goin’ out with the guys so you girls can have the house all to yourselves?”
She chuckled. “Actually we were planning to hang out at our apartment.”
“Would you rather hang out here?”
She shook her head. “Hmm... I’ll talk to Maria about it.”
“Can I come too?” Brooke asked as she entered the kitchen.
Alex glanced at Isabel. He didn’t want to just assume since it was a girl’s night that his little sister was invited. Isabel and her friends might just want to hang out together without being accompanied by a 16-year-old.
“Sure, you are a girl, right?” Isabel asked, smiling at the teenager.
Brooke grinned. “Last time I checked.” She stuck her tongue out at Alex. “What’re you gonna do?”
He rolled his eyes at her antics and shook his head. “I don’t know... see what the guys are doin’ maybe.”
The front door was opened and the sound of small quick steps could be heard. Alex smiled. “Seems like our niece is here.”
The sound of nails furiously clicking across the floor followed by Caela’s excited squeal let them know that Buffy and Spike were attempting to take cover.
Caela stopped in her tracks when she entered the kitchen and saw the others there, glancing at them uncertainly.
Alex laughed when the dogs took advantage of the little girl’s momentary distraction to hide. He moved the pans off of the burners and crouched down in front of his niece. “Hey, there, you gonna talk to me this time? Or you gonna make me work for it again?”
Caela stuck out her bottom lip as she stayed silent and stared at Alex in front of her.
“Sorry, sometimes she is too quick,” Karen said as she came up behind her daughter.
Isabel glanced at the others, nodding in appreciation when Brendan saw her getting up and motioned for her to stay seated. “She is fast... I don’t know how you keep up with her.”
Caela giggled at Brendan and held onto his jeans with that hand that had been halfway in her mouth before.
“I’m not convinced we do keep up with her,” Brendan said, shaking his head. He glanced at the pans on the stove. “Hey, you need a hand with breakfast?”
“No, I’m almost done. Have a seat,” Alex said as he got up again.
“Don’t take Caela’s behavior personally, Alex,” Karen said when he went back to making breakfast. “She’s become attached to Michael and that’s who she’s waitin’ for.”
“Why is it that every kid seems to love that rowdy troublemaker?” Alex wondered aloud.
Brooke snorted. “Michael’s just that special.”
Caela looked up at the adults. “Ki-Ki?”
“Mi-chael, my name is Mi-chael, kid,” someone said from behind, his tone soft.
“Ki-Ki!” she shouted and ran over to him, arms held up.
He chuckled and bent down to catch her.
Maria shook her head as she passed him on her way into the room. “Now they’ll both be entertained for hours.”
Isabel laughed. “Maybe you should get pregnant really fast. I might need someone with the same problems and your man is obviously good with kids.”
“I think this little one,” she said, rubbing Caela’s head, “and the one you’ve got on the way will be plenty for this group for a while.”
Michael nodded. “Agreed.”
“What, no Mike Jr’s running around anytime soon?” Brooke asked and then frowned when Michael and Maria exchanged a look before going into a laughing fit.
“What the hell is so funny?” Brooke asked and already regretted cursing in front of Caela.
Michael shook his head and handed Caela to Brendan. “I need a drink.”
“Ungh,” Brooke groaned as she realized what was going on. She reached over to cover her niece’s ears. “Seriously? THAT’s what you named your penis? That is disgusting, Michael!” She rolled her eyes. “Disgusting and so... ungh, it’s so you!”
He walked around the table and stopped behind Brooke, hugging her from behind her. “That’s why ya love me so much, kid.”
She made a face. “Do me a favor, okay? Don’t name your first son after yourself. I think it’d be damaging for me to look at him and have this whole other thought of ‘Mike Jr.’.”
“Change of topic,” Alex decided as he sat down at the table, putting the eggs and bacon in the center.
“So, no more discussion of what you boys have named your... privates?” Brooke asked as she grabbed a plate and sat down.
Alex shook his head. “Not if ya don’t wanna spend tonight alone.”
She made a face at him. “You already said I could hang out with the girls... you can’t take it back now.”
“Hey, about tonight,” Isabel said, “Alex offered the house to us.”
Maria looked at the guys. “Where’re you guys gonna hang out?”
Michael shrugged. “No clue. Brendan?”
“Huh?” He glanced up from the bacon he was folding into a piece of toast. “What?”
“Any suggestions about where we should hang out tonight? You are comin’, aren’t you?”
“Um... yeah.” He reached for the dish of scrambled eggs and spooned some onto Caela’s plate. “I’m good with wherever you guys wanna go.”
“Are you coming as well, Karen?” Maria asked.
Karen glanced at her daughter. “Oh, I don’t know...”
“You can bring her as well, right Iz?”
“Sure, it’ll be fun.” She glanced around the table. “Alex, do we have any strawberry jam?”
“Are you gonna put it on your eggs again?” He nearly gagged at the thought.
“Actually, I wanted to try it with the bacon today,” she said innocently.
“She puts it on everything,” Brooke whispered as she leaned in closer to Michael. “It’s just weird.”
“I can hear you, ya know?”
“I can’t do anything with these two around,” the teenager complained.
Alex shook his head. “You shouldn’t complain at all, I think.”
“Once our house is ready you can hang out with the cool people more often,” Michael told her.
“You guys are movin’ into a house?” Alex asked.
Michael suddenly realized that he hadn’t told anyone about it. Damn. “Um...”
Maria reached over to rest her hand on his thigh when everyone looked at him expectantly, waiting for an explanation. “Well, we’re both getting degrees in architecture, so we wanted to get some hands-on experience.”
“You’re building one together?” Brendan asked, feeling stupid since it was obvious.
Michael shrugged. “I’ve got some property outside the city, sits on a lake... thought it was time to do somethin’ with it.”
“My brother is full of surprises,” Alex shook his head, amused.
“Hey, so, that’s cool and all,” Brooke said as she grabbed another slice of bacon, “but, what happened with your dad?”
Michael and Brendan glanced at each other. “You first,” Michael said.
Brendan made a face at his twin for dumping it on him. “Uh, well... it went really well. You’re gonna get to meet him here pretty soon.”
Brooke swallowed. “Really?”
“Just straight to the point, huh?” Michael asked his twin.
He shrugged. “Hey, you said for me to start... what else was I supposed to start with?”
Alex interrupted them. “So, when?”
“When what?” Brendan asked absently as he leaned over to pick up the spoonful of eggs Caela had just spilled on the floor.
“When will he come here, goofy?” Brooke asked.
“Oh. Um, tomorrow.” He glanced at Michael. “Right?”
He nodded. “I talked to him before we got here, yeah. They’ll arrive around lunchtime.” Same as Maria’s mom
, he added in his thoughts. Perfect timing!
“Wait, so... he’s comin’ here?” Brooke chewed on the inside of her cheek as she thought about that. “How long’s he stayin’? Where’s he stayin’? Is it just him?”
Michael controlled to roll his eyes at his sisters questions. “THEY will stay a few days and they’re stayin’ at the beach house that some friends of Kyle’s dad own.”
She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “So, how many of them are there? Just him and his... wife?” she asked hopefully.
“No,” Brendan started, glancing at her a little unsure. “He has five kids.”
“Five kids? Damn, do they not have cable TV up there?”
Michael bumped her shoulder. “You won’t be the youngest anymore.”
“So, you’ve already met them?” She pretended to be uninterested in his answer as she picked at her breakfast.
“No, we just know that they’re all younger than we are. The youngest is only like three.”
“Do they know about me an’ Alex?”
“Yeah, of course. And Adam knows Alex already.”
Alex winced when his head shot up and the tines of his fork rammed into his teeth. “Ouch, damn it!” He put his fork down and rubbed his forefinger over his teeth and gums, checking for damage. “I don’t know the guy,” he denied.
“You were too young,” Brendan explained, “but you and Adam did hang out when he was with our mother.”
He shook his head, mentally doing the math. “I had to be, what? Four? I remember things that far back.” He made a face at Brooke when she snickered. “Not that I’m THAT old.”
“He had a picture of you,” Michael said.
“It showed him and you.”
“Okay,” he said slowly. “Doin’ what?”
“You were at the zoo, looking at some chimps.”
“Huh.” Alex shrugged as he tried to recall the picture they were talking about. He had loved going to the zoo and watching the chimps when he was a little boy, but he couldn’t remember one time that stood out more than the others.
“Don’t worry about it, Alex,” Michael said.
“So, why’s he comin’ here anyway?” Brooke asked, worried about meeting all of these new people that were related to the twins.
“Why?” the twins asked, surprised.
“Well, yeah. Why?”
“Because he wants to get to know all of you,” Maria said, when the guys were too stunned by the question to say anything.
“Again, why? Don’t you think it’s odd for this guy to just embrace the two of you so easily?” Damn, she didn’t want to hurt them, but she couldn’t seem to shut up.
Michael knew what this was all about. “Don’t even go there, Brooke,” he warned.
She looked at him sharply, irritated by his warning tone. “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.”
He lifted one eyebrow. “Uh-huh.”
“I don’t.” She kicked at the table leg and shrugged one shoulder as she tore her toast into little pieces. “I mean, if you guys want a bunch of strangers around for your birthday that’s your choice.”
Maria looked at Brooke, wondering if she had been like this at her age as well.
“Yeah, ya know what?” Brendan asked, fed up with his sister’s attitude. “It is our choice, Brooke... just like it’s your choice whether or not you wanna be there for our birthday. We didn’t ask for this situation either and we’re tryin’ to deal with it. You’re not helpin’ things when one second you’re supportive and the next you’re actin’ like a little brat.”
Brooke looked at Brendan stunned, her mouth opened several times, but she didn’t say anything.
“Nothing simple ‘bout breakfast with the Guerin family, huh?” Alex whispered to Isabel.
“We could have our own reality show,” she joked quietly.
“Way to take on the ‘dad tone’, Brendan,” Maria said with a smile.
Michael gave Brooke a nudge. “You’ve gotta stop worryin’ about anyone takin’ us away from you. We’re not goin’ anywhere, kid.”
“It’s easy for you to say that,” she muttered.
He sighed and shrugged one shoulder. “Yeah, it is. Ya know why? Because I know it’s true, because I know how much you mean to me, and because I know I wouldn’t trade you or Alex in for anything in the world.” He leaned down to catch her eyes. “Not even if it would’ve meant growin’ up differently.”
She nodded, the movement hardly noticeable and looked at her plate. “I’m not really hungry.”
“Don’t force your breakfast down if you’re not hungry.” Alex knew there wasn’t anything any of them could say to make her believe what the twins were trying to tell her. It would take time and he had no doubt that the boys would find a way to fit both families into their lives. “So, Adam and his family will be here tomorrow... the New Years’ game is an evening game, right? 6pm?”
Michael nodded. “I have to be there earlier, but Maria will have the car so she could pick you guys up here.”
“You’ll need to be there around 4pm?”
“You said they’re gonna be here around lunchtime, right? You guys want us to put somethin’ together, lunch or somethin’, so we can all meet before the game?” Isabel offered, knowing that was where Alex was going with his questions.
Michael nodded. “Yeah, that’d be cool. Guess we’ll need a lotta chairs.”
“We could make a big picnic on the beach, so no chairs,” Maria suggested.
“Yeah, that’d be perfect. And we can set it up over at the beach house or here... we have the beach option at both places.” Isabel nodded to herself, already planning lunch the next day. “You just let us know which one you think will work better and we’ll take care of everything.”
“Cool, thanks,” Brendan said.
“Where’re ya spending New Years’ Eve?” Brooke asked.
“There’s gonna be a pretty big party on the beach after the game,” Michael said, shrugging. “There’re other parties, so if one of you guys has somethin’ else in mind...”
Brendan glanced at Karen. “Well, I guess we’ll spend the night at home with Caela.”
Karen grinned and shook her head. “We can spend the night at home if you want to, but it won’t hurt Caela to be up late tomorrow night. This’s a pretty big event and I think it’ll be okay.”
“See, Karen’s cool,” Michael teased. “And I’m pretty sure that a lot of families will be at the party after the game since a lotta students stay here and get a visit from the parents.”
Maria tried to hide her disappointment at Michael's comment. “It’ll be a lot of fun,” she said, smiling.
He wrapped one are around her. “Yeah, it will be.”
“Oh, are we gonna do the thing where we write down where we think we’ll be and bury it?” Isabel asked excitedly.
“Oh, we have to do that,” Maria said, nodding. “Michael even agreed to participate.”
“I don’t recall bein’ given a choice,” he denied.
“There’s always a choice, Michael,” she assured him. “You just wisely chose the correct one.”
“Can I invite Luke?” Brooke asked, pretty sure they would say no.
“Who’s Luke?” Karen asked, pretty sure she knew the answer when Michael and Alex both received warning kicks under the table.
Brooke rolled her eyes. “A guy who could be my boyfriend if I didn’t have three very overprotective brothers.”
“No one said you couldn’t date him,” Alex denied as he tried to rub his shin inconspicuously.
“Haha,” was all she replied.
“Go ahead,” Michael offered generously. “Invite him to the party tomorrow night.”
She looked up. “Really?”
“Sure, invite him.” He shook his head when Alex looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “There’ll be lots of people there, so I think it’d be the perfect place for the two of you to hang out together.”
“Cool,” she took a bite of her toast. “So, what’s Adam like?”
“He looks a lot like us,” Michael said.
“He has gray hair though.” Brendan made a face. “Hey, you guys got any chocolate milk?”
“Refrigerator,” Alex said.
Brendan motioned to Caela as he stood up. “Milk or juice?” he asked Karen.
Michael got up as Brendan did and he moved after him. “Hey, c’mon, I need to talk to ya for a sec.”
“Well, okay, but I was gonna get a drink...”
Michael rolled his eyes. “We’ll be right back.”
Brendan followed Michael out of the kitchen and as they stepped out on the deck, the dogs squeezed by them, barking and yapping as they discovered freedom from wherever they had been hiding. “What’s up?”
“Just wanted to let ya know that I’m gonna put on a little show tomorrow at the airport. I’ve say something about needin’ some air for a few minutes or somethin’.”
“Um... okay. Why?”
“Maria’s mom is coming to LA around the same time as Adam and I need to pick her up at her gate when she arrives.”
He shrugged, still not understanding. “So? I’m sure Maria will... Oh! She doesn’t know her mom’s comin’ into town?”
Michael snapped his finger. “Right.”
“Got it. Well, she’ll probably be pretty distracted with everything else goin’ on. Or maybe she’ll wanna stay an' help out here, getting everything set up for lunch.”
“Yeah,” Michael scratched his eyebrow. “Maybe you could talk to Karen, she could try to convince Maria she has to help here?”
“We could probably get Alex in on it and he’d have the girls all volunteering to stay an’ help out while we go pick everyone up from the airport. One word about how it’s a lot of work for Isabel with the pregnancy and all... they’ll be knockin’ each other over to help out.”
Michael chuckled. “Okay. Oh, and hey, there is somethin’ else…”
Karen looked up when the guys came back inside and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes when Brendan just shrugged and went to the refrigerator.
Brendan pulled the milk and juice out and then realized he needed Caela’s cup. “Hey, Michael, do me a favor and grab her cup outta her bag; it’s in the livin’ room.”
“Sure,” Michael walked off to get the requested cup.
“So, Bren, Karen,” Brooke started innocently. “Is there anything you guys wanna share with the rest of the family?”